Trump's no-experience, fake-degree wedding planner will be in charge of billions in NYC housing spending

Lynne Patton has no experience with housing policy, claims to have a law degree from a university that says she dropped out after two semesters, claims an affiliation with Yale that no one can explain, and is implicated in the Eric Trump charity scam that directed cash earmarked for children's cancer research into the Trump Organization's pockets -- and as of July 5, she'll oversee billions in spending in the New York housing authorities. On the plus side, she reportedly did a great job as Eric Trump's wedding-planner. Read the rest

What a new house in Tokyo looks like

Life Where I'm From has a tour of a 4LDK (4 bedroom, living room, dining room, kitchen) in Tokyo. Cost is about $480,000. I love that magnetic door stopper, and the high tech toilet. Read the rest

Underground city made from old opal mines has 3,500 residents

Coober Pedy is an Australian mining town with such an extensive labyrinth of depleted opal mines that half the town's residents live underground. There are bookstores, churches, and other public spaces. Read the rest

Survive the coming apocalypse inside a big pipe buried underground

Atlas Survival Shelters sells huge corrugated pipe shelters outfitted for living with air filtration systems, Co2 scrubbers, and power generators. A 10' x 20' shelter goes for $30-$40,000 and the "Hillside Retreat," a 10' x 51', runs as high as $109,000. Options include a big screen TV, electric fireplace, oak flooring, hatch camouflaged as a boulder, and many other fine amenities. From their pitch:

The only bunkers manufactured today that has actually been tested against the effects of a nuclear bomb and has passed, is the round corrugated pipe shelters (used in the 1950s) by the U.S. Army Corps of Enginneers..

The round shape worked then and still works today! There is little difference between the bunkers made 50 years ago and the bunkers made today except the addition of modern interiors, NBC air filtration systems, Co2 scrubbers, generators, and high-tech electronics. There is no other shape other then round that will allow you to reach the depth underground that you need for maximum protection for your family and to allow the climate to be controlled underground.

"Beware the Square". No pre-manufactured square metal bunkers passed the nuclear test and should only be regarded as a fallout shelter or tornado shelter at best!

Atlas Survival Shelters (via Uncrate)

Read the rest

Free trade lowers prices -- but not on things poor people need (and it pushes up housing prices)

Part of the economic argument for free trade deals is that they benefit workers by producing cheaper goods -- even if you lose your manufacturing job, you can buy stuff a lot cheaper with the next job you get. Read the rest

What kind of house $300,000 can buy around the world

Want to see what kind of house $300k will buy in Finland, Greece, Dominican Republic, Russia, Portugal, Brazil, Italy, Montenegro, Spain, USA, Turkey, France, Croatia, and Indonesia (above)? Check out the photos below:

What kind of house $300,000 can buy around the world.
Read the rest

New York's stately libraries sport hidden apartments for live-in caretakers

For the first half of the 20th Century, it was common for New York's libraries to have live-in superintendents, whose families would live on-site in hidden apartments -- the last one of these apartments wasn't vacated until 2006. Read the rest

Low income US households get $0.08/month in Fed housing subsidy; 0.1%ers get $1,236

America is in the grips of one of the worst housing crises in its history, with 1 in 3 households spending more than 30% of their income on mortgage or rent payments; the US government has two kinds of housing subsidy, one for poor renters and the other intended for middle-income mortgage payers, but guess who gets most of the money? Read the rest

More single adults living with parents than on their own for first time since 1880s

A new Pew Research report finds that the number of single adults still living with their parents is at historically high levels -- in the US, the number of singles still at home outnumber the cohort of those living out of the house, something last seen in the 1880s. Read the rest

City of San Francisco tells man he can't live in wooden box in friend's living room

Illustrator Peter Berkowitz published an editorial in the Guardian explaining why he chose to spend $400 to live in a (cozy) wooden "pod" he made with the help of a friendly designer and another friend who was a woodworker, assembling it in the living room of a pal who charged him $400/month to house the pod (tl;dr: The rent's too damn high, with a smattering of anti-regulation philosophy) Read the rest

German student ditches apartment, buys an unlimited train pass

Leonie Müller's undergrad thesis will include an analysis of her months living on Germany's high-speed trains, washing her hair in the bathroom sinks and writing her papers at 100+ km/h. Read the rest

Oklahoma governor must move daughter’s mobile home from mansion grounds

Christina Fallin, the 28-year-old daughter of Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, lives in a trailer on the grounds of the governor’s mansion. Taxpayers have started to gripe that the trailer is connected to the mansion's power supply, and the governor has responded by saying, "we’re gonna remove the trailer by this Sunday and she’s going to make other living arrangements.”

KFOR TV has more:

The governor’s office told us, by phone, they believe it is perfectly acceptable for Christina Fallin to live with her mom and for one of her step-brothers to be living in an apartment over the garage on the property.

They say Christina’s arrangement is just temporary until she finds a better place. Her step-brother is said to also just temporarily be living there, since he was recently engaged.

We did some digging and found that if this trailer were on any other property in Oklahoma City, it would be a code violation.

Image: KFOR TV video screengrab. Read the rest

Rent a camping tent in someone's backyard near Google X for $46/night

Need a place to stay near Google X in Mountain View? John Potter is renting out a 9' x 7' Coleman tent in his backyard on Airbnb for $46/night. You're allowed one shower per day and can eat inside too.

"It kind of is (outrageous)," Potter told CBS SF Bay Area. "But maybe they should build more affordable housing in Mountain View."

"Tent in garden next to google x" (Airbnb) Read the rest

Thatcher's slow-motion housing timebomb

James Meek's essay "Where will we live?" is a detailed, passionate history of the housing timebomb that is detonating in England today. Thatcher set the time in the 1980s, when she sold off public housing to tenants and forbade local governments from building more with the proceeds, and subsequent governments have done everything they can to fuel and intensify housing speculation and bubbles. And now single moms, disabled people, and elderly people are being evicted, families can't afford housing on anything less than a banker's salary, and pensioners are being doomed to decades of poverty by low interest rates that can't be raised, lest they burst the property speculation bubble.

Housing in the UK is a microcosm for everything wrong with neoliberalism: corruption, cronyism, grinding human misery, and funny accounting to prove that it's all working, honestly. Read the rest

English mega-landlord evicts all welfare tenants, will no longer rent to them

Fergus Wilson, one of England's largest landlords, has announced that he will no longer rent to people receiving welfare benefits, and has served all of his benefits-receiving tenants with eviction notices. He says that the cuts to benefits in the UK have resulted in an unacceptably high level of rent arrears, so high in fact that rent guarantee insurers will no longer cover properties let to welfare tenants.

The problem of social housing tenants falling behind on rent will get much, much worse shortly, when the "universal credit" scheme is introduced -- a massive change in the way benefits are paid that has delayed by massive IT problems.

The hardest hit groups of tenants are elderly people and single mothers, as well as people who are too disabled to work. Read the rest

Downsizing? Try a 238 square feet home.

Jamie Smith Hopkins at The Baltimore Sun writes about the tiny homes more and more Americans are opting for: "U.S. houses got bigger for decades ... even as household sizes shrunk, according to Census Bureau figures. But the housing crash, foreclosure crisis and rough recession have pressed some to think differently." Read the rest

New York City's nastiest apartments

The Worst Room is a blog exploring the seedy and insanitary world of New York City's "affordable housing." The home featured above, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is yours for $1200 a month.

Update: And here's WTF Is a Cottage?, another new "bad apartments" blog focused on San Francisco. Less cramped squalor, but an extra helping of insanity. Read the rest

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